November 5, 2012 (TSR-Interfax) – Russia and the United States are not conducting any secret talks on the future of the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
“We never conduct any secret talks on the future of third countries with anyone. We did not have any secret contacts with Americans or anyone else about a deal concerning the future of Bashar al-Assad,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
“We have said on many occasions that we are not concerned about a specific character in the Syrian leadership including Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian people is our main concern, and for this people to feel at least some relief violence must be stopped on both sides,” Lavrov said.
MTC between Moscow and Damascus aimed at strengthening Syrian defense capability
Moscow is delivering certain air defense weapons to Damascus in the framework of its outstanding obligations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
“The bulk of the weapons were delivered to Syria by the Soviet Union. Presently we are completing the fulfillment of obligations undertaken earlier related mainly to the delivery of certain air defense means,” he said in an interview with Egypt’s Al-Ahram. The text of the interview was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Monday.
“Such arms exports are of defense nature and don’t contradict any international conventions,” he said.
“As for Russian-Syrian military-technical cooperation (MTC), it has always been aimed at building up the defense capability of Syria in the face of a possible outside threat, not supporting Bashar al-Assad or anyone else,” Lavrov said.
He again expressed concern about arms deliveries of other countries to the Syrian opposition.
“The declaration of principles of international law adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970 says that no state should organize, support or finance armed actions aimed at overthrowing the regime in another state by force,” he said.
“How does this obligation correspond with the actions of some of our foreign partners rendering various kinds of ‘assistance’ to militarized opposition groups? To say nothing of the fact that Al Qaeda militants are also fighting in Syria and the West has starting thinking whether the arms illegally delivered to Syria may filter into unwanted hands,” the minister said.
“If all countries the representatives of which on June 30 in Geneva voted for a balanced, reasonable foundation for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis would exert pressure on both the government and all opposition groups compelling them to stop hostilities and sit down to the negotiating table, the chances of the mission of the UN/LAS special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi would have been much greater,” he said.
West is trying to aggravate situation to change regime in Syria
By insisting on the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria the West is trying to aggravate the situation and create conditions for the change of the regime in that country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes.
“The resolution our Western partners and some other of our colleagues speak of, is devised by them with one sole purpose: to aggravate the situation and create conditions for the change of the regime,” he said at a press conference in Cairo following his meeting with LAS Secretary General Nabil ElAraby and UN/LAS special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
That was his answer to the question whether Russia is ready to support the UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Syria.
“Actually no resolution is needed to honestly fulfill the Geneva understandings,” Lavrov said.
“What I said is required – that everyone would tell all the fighting sides in Syria to stop,” he said.
“If the main priority is the change of the regime, even more blood will be shed and this does not depend on Russia in any way. If the priority is to save lives, no resolutions are needed. We haven’t even tried to implement the Geneva resolution yet,” he said.
“All this can be done by the U.S., EU, LAS, Turkey, Russia, China. We were all parties to the Geneva understandings. But why are we speaking of different things? Russia is saying one and the same thing: “Stop shooting, sit down to the negotiating table.” Some others are saying: “Go on shooting, the regime will fall, we promise you that.” No resolutions can help here,” he summed up.